Presentation on theme: "Proocedural Representations of Ideologies. An example:"— Presentation transcript:
Proocedural Representations of Ideologies
About me, and why I am here Five years in ludology MSc Video Games (A Critical Simulation Analysis) MSc Education and Technology (Perceptions of Ideology in Simulation Games) Why What How
Why games and simulations? New medium for expressions of ideologies Increasingly becoming part of political discourse Politicians NGOs Interests organizations Advertisement
Official Howard Dean 2004 Primaries Official Republican National Congress 2006 'Underground' Bush 2004 Pres election
Momma Kills Animals
Why? Pt II QCDA: Simulations and Models from Key Stage 1 (Year 2/age ~7) 32.5 million gamers in UK Avg age: 28 86% of girls aged Weekly play time boys 13-19: 11 hours Source: TNS TIPO Technology for gamesindustry.com TNS TIPO Technology for gamesindustry.com
”Procedurality” Core component of computational representation (Murray 1997) Relying on 'procedures' Streams of logical expressions 'do if', 'do when' 'do after' 'do if not' etc
Game of Life For every increment in time, All cells look at their eight neighbours If equal or less than two alive Die (from loneliness) If between 3 and 6 alive Live If equal to or more than seven alive Die (from starvation)
A similar model For every increment in time, All cells look at their eight neighbours If more than X% different from me Move If less than X% different from me Stay
An entirely different model? For every increment in time, All cells look at their eight neighbours If more than X% different from me Move If less than X% different from me Stay
Procedural Representations of Ideologies ”Manipulation of symbols through procedures” Symbols widen interpretational space Is vs could have been vs ought to have been Hermenutic relationship: procedures/symbols September 12 th revisited
My questions What do these games say? How can we analyse them? Where can we find a (somewhat) compatible conceptual framework?
Critical Simulation Analysis Based on Norman Fairclough's work in Critical Discourse Analysis (1995, 2003) Six concepts: Intertextuality (and absence/presence) Social Actors Evaluations Background Knowledge Modalities Nominalizations
The McDonald's Video Game
'Rainforest' Social Actor EvaluationBackground Knowledge ModalityNominalization Analysis Rainforest McDonald s (the player) Costs less money than grasslands. Lexicalized as 'Millenial- old rainforest' Rainforest can be re-planted to field. Tearing down rainforest makes environmentali sts angry. AlwaysBuying process is nominalissed so the money disappears. The deforestation process is nominalised and bulldozers appear out of nowhere. Incentive to tear down rainforest over sustainable farming. Lexicalization of rainforest ascribes positive value to it. Nominalization of buying process removes positive consequences for local economy. Nominalization of deforestation writes out benefit to local job market.
The Game Experience To what extent do people project their own understandings on to the game? How does this impact their ability to understand models they disagree with? How do people make long-term plans on assumptions they disagree with?
A few player experiences “but I don't want to make a profit with McDonald's products...” (18:08) “But obviously if I have to increase my production, I have to do something...” (21:52)”
A few player experiences “I haven't got enough customers... which is a good thing, to be honest. Like... McDonald's is such a bad thing for you. Why would you want to eat there in the first place?” (31:40) “How's my shop doing? Oh, excellent! There's a huge queue!” (41:50)
A few player experience I'm trying to make everyone happy at the moment, because it seems in that game that if you don't make everybody happy, you can't [win]... even if you as a person don't believe in that, but the rules of the game seem to think that if one of the groups is not happy, you lose the whole game!” (P5, 29:40)
That is what games do! Valorize the outcome (Juul 2005) Disambiguate the model Play qua game or qua social statement
Ideologies Rorshach Allowing people to construct their own meaning Their own 'valorization' Playing their own game Simple task: Set congestion charge to whatever you think is most fair. Ask any questions you will about the simulation.
Participants 1: Apolitical, only votes because he feels he kind of has to. 2: Conservative 3: Social liberal 4: Life-long socialist activist
What they said Apolitical 200: I take the bus. So can everybody else. Conservative 45: I don't want the state to force people to do anything. But I also don't want to sit on the bus for too long. So double the amount of bus takers. Social Liberal 114: Maximise gain to society. Revenue from congestion charge + half of time saved * mean minute salary – pollution costs. Socialist 80: Get more than half of population into busses.
Essentially contestable models as research tool? Normal biases: Acquiescence, central tendency, social desirability. Needs to accommodate everything people could possible imagine (e.g. Individual travel time, accidents) ”Model/modeling literacy”
Thank you! Arthur Hjorth Bibliography Freeden, M What Should the ‘Political’ in Political Theory Explore?*. Journal of Political Philosophy 13, no. 2: Juul, Jesper Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds. The MIT Press. Murray, Janet H Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace. MIT Press, August 28.